Recently I was asked whether there’s any point giving every one of your pages a unique meta description.
The answer is maybe.
If you don’t have lots of pages, then creating a compelling and engaging meta description for each makes sense.
Failing that, it’s a good idea to craft unique descriptions for your most important pages – the ones that bring in the most revenue, or the ones you think more people should be visiting – and let Google generate a snippet automatically for the rest, but beware…
Blank meta descriptions
Meta descriptions play an important role in convincing potential customers to choose your website over another when it comes up on a results page. So do you really want this important piece of copy being written by an algorithm?
For example, if you wanted to know “How to write an rfp”, which of the below would you be most likely to click?
Can I use duplicate meta descriptions?
No! Whatever you do, don’t have duplicate meta descriptions.
Google won’t like this. Don’t believe me? Google’s Matt Cutts spoke about the topic back in 2013. You can use Google’s free Webmaster Tools to identify any duplicate meta descriptions and get rid of them.
It’s also poor from a usability stand point. Audiences are unlikely to flock to your website if all they see when they search is a series of identical and inaccurate descriptions.
Benefits of tailored meta descriptions
In the days of increasingly nuanced segmentation, it’s easy to forget the benefits a simple change can make. A bespoke meta description can improve:
- CTR: Find out what people are searching for and work the relevant key words into your meta description. Not only are search terms bolded and eye-catching, but you can highlight the bits of your content that most interest your audience.
- Bounce rate: A good meta description describes what is on the webpage. Get this right and you’ll see your bounce rate drop as people land on the page and see what they expected. This isn’t always the case when you leave it to Google to guess what’s on the page.
- Never use duplicate meta descriptions.
- If you haven’t got the resources to optimise the meta description on every page, focus on key content.
- Leave the meta descriptions you’re not optimising blank – Google will do its best to fill these in.
- Find out more on optimising meta descriptions in my Writing for SEO best practice guide .